Spot Treating With Natural Vinegar Weed Killer

2704854024 58f9a1d93e 300x220 Spot Treating With Natural Vinegar Weed Killer

We all want to try to reduce our impact on our local environment, and here is one way to tackle your weeds with household vinegar, and eliminate toxic run-off from your yard.

White Vinegar can be purchased cheaply at any local grocery store, and it can kill a variety of weeds in your yard.  The USDA has done experiments for several years with experimental home-remedies, in the search for cleaner herbicide solutions. Their research led them to find that early spring weeds like Dandelions, and Thistle are vulnerable to straight Vinegar solutions in their first few weeks of growth when their tissue is still soft. While the majority of store bought vinegar is effectually a diluted version of true vinegar, even the “straight from the bottle” application to broadleaf weeds, and thistles is effective in killing them quickly in the spring, root and all. Late spring and summer applications may need multiple treatments, as the plants toughen and prepare for reproduction, and hot weather, so any use of straight vinegar should be applied to your yard early for real impact.

Apple Cider Vinegar, and White Vinegar can be mixed in gallon form with a variety of other household items like soap, table salt, water, and alcoholic beverages to make a more potent and environmentally safe weed killer for late season weeds.  Adding a cup of salt to a gallon of vinegar, and a small squirt of dish soap can create a valuable spray weed killer.  Not all vinegar recipes will kill the tough roots of a plant, but most will, and this DIY approach to weed killing has the effectiveness of Round-UP, killing anything it is sprayed on.  Use Vinegar carefully around turf grass, and plants that you want to keep.

Looking for more DIY Vinegar weed control recipes?  Read The Garden Counselor website for lawn and garden advice, and pick up a few great ideas of your own!

Photo courtesy of:mollypop

Refurbished Tools Make A Great Green Gift For Spring Projects

3097850219 602c6e52a6 300x300 Refurbished Tools Make A Great Green Gift For Spring Projects

Earth Day is over, but buying refurbished tools for your lawn and garden project list is a great green way to aquire the tools you need, recycled and as good as new, right from the factory!

Whether you are looking for a new drill and bit set to help you put together your own raised garden bed walls, or want a new set of hedge trimmers, the folks over at “One Project Closer” have been helping DYI-ers around the house and yard for about a year now, and they have a great go-to list of manufacturer refurbished tool sales around the internet.  Many of the tools come with a full warranty, and are up to 50% less than what you would pay for a brand new tool, which helps your wallet, and is a more eco-friendly way to purchase your tools.  

Check out their article, and see if you can’t find the tools you need to complete your spring projects for a steal.


Photo Courtesy of: Robert S. Donovan 

Recycling Idea: Use Freshwater Aquarium Tank Water as Fertilizer

fishtank 225x300 Recycling Idea: Use Freshwater Aquarium Tank Water as FertilizerSometimes when we become used to a chore, we stop thinking about what exactly we are doing, and just focus on getting through with it.  I was doing this a few years ago with my large office fish tank, when I was mid chore, dumping gallons of slimy fish water over a sidewalk, and suddenly wondered “what in the world am I doing?”

I keep a very large goldfish tank in my office at work, somewhere in the ballpark of 70-80 gallons.  Once upon a time, the tank was the overwintering and emergency tank for the pond goldfish on my corporate property. It’s been a resort, and temporary home for Comet goldfish for years, used when the fishes ponds were either drained, or undergoing repairs. Being a practical sort of person, in recent years, I’ve been keeping a few fish in there year round as my living screen saver, to keep the tank ready at all times for any Biblical-scale water feature disasters. While I have devised clever ways to cheat the system, and prolong the time between tank cleanings, I inevitably spend an hour twice a month sucking filthy brown water into a tall office trashcan for dumping out on the lawn, or down a drain.

A few years ago I was going through my bi-monthly fish tank cleaning process, wheeling the waste-water trashcan out to the exterior door, when I really looked into the filthy water, and realized that what I was staring at was free liquid fertilizer – and a fertilizer I was about to dump indiscriminately on the nearest patch of land near the door! Feeling like a total bonehead for never having thought about the uses for this “grey water” source before, I began that day using fish water as both a water source, and a fertilizer for my office plants, and exterior potted plants.  A fish’s excrement, and the general waste that they sluff off, are excellent fertilizers for plant life, because they contain so many undigested and beneficial nutrients.

Whether you use a gravel vacuum Recycling Idea: Use Freshwater Aquarium Tank Water as Fertilizer and a bucket, or a long extension vacuum, to transfer recyclable water directly to plants, recycling “gray water,” is a great way to cut down on your total water consumption, using water that has been lightly used for one purpose again for a second purpose before disposal.  Fish water, while unsafe to recycle for any human benefit, will greatly assist your yard, or office plants, feeding and watering them at the same time, and reducing your need for more commercial forms of plant food.  If you own a freshwater aquarium in either your home, or your office, try saving the water you drain from your tank for your own plants, as a way to “go green” this month! Plus as an added bonus, vacuuming your freshwater fish tank in one area and using the exact same water for your plants is a more efficient way of conquering two chores at once!

TIP: For small tabletop fish tanks in the home or office, keep a large watering can available, and drain aquarium water directly into the can for easy dispensing in your flower pots and garden beds!

Natural Cat Repellent: A Natural Way to Keep Away Stray Cats

cat under cover 300x199 Natural Cat Repellent: A Natural Way to Keep Away Stray CatsThere is always a way to maximize the uses you get out of your garden, and the plants you grow there, and sometimes what you discover as a new use for an old plant may surprise you!

This is one great “green idea” that I stumbled on myself quite accidentally!  When moving fresh cut Rosemary from my yard into my kitchen to hang and dry, my cat dashed in to check out the leafy greens in my hand, no doubt to see how edible they were.  His fascination led him to continually dart his head close to the plant, only to jump back, and blink in confusion.  He swatted at the plant a few times, and then repeated the same pattern, but as the oils from the plant attached to the paws of his front feet he began to back away from me, and then back away from the smells of the Rosemary plant (now attached to his front paws) that he perceived to be following him.  Over the next few minutes he backed himself around my kitchen several times trying to sneak away from the offending smell, and I took pity on him after he made a few mad dashes to and from the living room, trying to outrun his front paws.  Once my perverse enjoyment of this entertainment passed, I realized I had struck gold in the all-natural cat control department.

How To Make It Work For You:

  • Plant Rosemary in your garden to deter stray cats from leaving deposits in your yard, or hunting your songbirds.
  • Lay fresh trimmings of Rosemary on carpet areas you want a house-cat to avoid.  The oils in the plant are long lasting, and can work at deterring a cat from a designated area for up to two weeks, giving you time to re-train the cat’s behavior.
  • To keep cats away from computer wires, heirloom furniture, or china displays, lay trimmings of Rosemary in the areas around what you are protecting, or place the trimmings in the area the cat uses to access the object.
  • For problem areas, or for repeat offenders, a cotton ball lightly soaked (so as not to leave oil stains) in Rosemary Essential Oil, and placed near the object of your house-cat’s attention can deter the visiting behavior.  Also a dab of the oil of hard surfaces, such as a chair leg, or piece of furniture, will also deter your cat sufficiently.

Try this method out as an alternative to pet store remedies, and see if you can’t solve your cat problem with this great “green” alternative!

Your Thoughts: Have you tried Rosemary (or any other herb) to repell, or deter unwanted feline behavior?  How has it worked for you?  I’d love to hear from you!

(Photo credit: OiMax)